between the bun: an unexpected relish

banh mi dog from Man Bites Dog

I think it's safe to say I've reached my hot dog limit for the month of July. (In my defense, it was National Hot Dog Month.. and I had to do proper research for this article I wrote for CultureMap Austin!) However, before my hot dog hiatus, I have to share this recipe for a refreshing topping I envisioned, executed..and was actually quite pleased with: watermelon jicama nopales relish! Read on for the recipe below...



After a day swimming out at the lake, where we spotted THIS ice cream and hot dog boat (!), something I never knew existed...


...and after a quick pitstop at Poodie's Hilltop Bar (a country dive owned by Willie Nelson's once-manager Poodie), where we caught the end of a set by the lovely Tessy Lou and the Shotgun Stars...



...we returned home famished and ready to grill some Salt & Time hotdogs (the best hot dogs you can get in town!). I'd had visions of nopales relish for days... I imagined the consistency of the slightly slimy cactus paddles would be perfect for such a purpose! And it proved to be an awesome, summery topping for a very satisfying dog...

Watermelon Jicama Nopales Relish

1 cup jicama, diced
1 cup watermelon, diced
2 cups nopales cactus paddles, diced
1 pickled serrano peppers, diced smaller (seeds or no seeds- up to you!)*
salt, pepper, lime juice to taste
fresh cilantro (optional)
grapeseed oil for sauteing 

*I just happened to have some pickled serrano peppers in my fridge, but it's also easy to make a quick pickle by halving the peppers and soaking them in red wine vinegar or rice vinegar, with a sprinkle of salt and sugar.

Directions
1. I put about half the nopales in a skillet and lightly sauteed them in the grapeseed oil. Once softened, I added the other half and let them cook briefly, but removed them from the heat while they still had a bit of a snap to them. 
2. Combine all other ingredients in a bowl and let it sit in the fridge so the flavors come together until you're ready to top your dog.

(I included a bit of Salt & Time's homemade ketchup with my dog, but I also think cilantro pesto would go really well with this relish..and maybe a sprinkle of queso fresco?)